Members 55 delegates White Males Statesmen, lawyers, planters. bankers, businessmen Most under age 50
Absent John Adams - Ambassador to England Thomas Jefferson – Ambassador to France Patrick Henry – “smelled a rat” Samuel Adams – Not chosen by state to be part of the delegation
Famous Members James Madison – “Father of the Constitution” Alexander Hamilton – Leader of the Federalist Party George Washington – Chairman of the convention Benjamin Franklin – Oldest member at 81, was also at the 2 nd Continental Congress
Principles of the Constitution Checks and Balances – A political system in which branches of government have some authority over the actions of the other branches Limited Government – The idea that government is not all powerful, but can only do what the people allow it to.
Principles of the Constitution Federalism – The division of power between a central government and states National level State level Local level
Principles of the Constitution Popular Sovereignty – The people rule. The power of the government is based on the consent of the governed. Separation of powers – The division of the government into three separate branches: executive, legislative, and judicial.
Agreements and Compromises All agreed that rights to property should be protected. Ben Franklin proposed universal suffrage for all males, but most wanted only those with land to vote Most delegates favored a bicameral legislature
Agreements and Compromises Virginia Plan – Favored by large states Written by James Madison Endorsed by Alexander Hamilton Government with a bicameral legislature Large house elected by popular vote Smaller house chosen by lager house members from nominees chosen by state legislatures Number of Representatives based on wealth
Agreements and Compromises New Jersey Plan – Favored by small states Proposed by William Paterson Unicameral house Each state one vote Did not require a strong central government
The Great Compromise Aka: Connecticut Compromise Bicameral house – Benefit all states One house called Senate Members chosen by the state legislatures Each state gets one vote One house called House of Representatives Members chosen by population Number of members based on population
Agreements and Compromises Three-fifths clause Favors Southern states All slaves would be counted in the census for representation in the House as 3/5ths
Agreements and Compromises Electoral College People chosen by the state legislatures Vote for president and vice-president Supposed to reflect the will of the people
Agreements and Compromises Slave and trade compromise Benefits both North and South No taxes on exports No interference with the slave trade for 20 years
Agreements and Compromises Amendment compromise 2/3 vote of both houses and ratified by state conventions of ¾ of the states (used for 21 st amendment) Proposed by a national constitutional convention requested by 2/3 state legislatures and ratified by ¾ state legislatures (never used) Proposed by the national constitutional convention and ratified by ¾ of the specially formed state conventions
Agreements and Compromises Informal Amendments – Broad language allows for interpretation as things and events change our country Legislature – “Necessary and Proper” clause To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof. Planning ahead
Agreements and Compromises Executive Presidents make executive agreements with other countries. Not a delegated power Do not have to be ratified by the Senate Judicial Judicial review – The power of the court to interpret the Constitution Judicial power to determine if a law is unconstitutional
Criticism of Founders Founders interested in protecting property – their own All agreements based on their own economic welfare Most scholars determine that the criticism is false because the voting did not follow their own interests but those of their state
Criticism of Constitution Does not protect the rights of the individual Does not protect states rights Gives a central authority too much power
The Structure of the Constitution The Constitution is broken up into three main parts. What are those parts? The Preamble The Seven Articles The Amendments What are the first ten called?
The Preamble The Preamble is a basic introduction to the Constitution, stating the purposes of the newly formed United States government. “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty, to ourselves and our Prosperity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” What are the basic purposes of our Government that the Preamble states?
Articles of the Constitution Basically the body of the Constitution. There are 7 numbered sections of the Constitution called Articles. Article 1 – Legislative Branch Article 2 – Executive Branch Article 3 – Judicial Branch Article 4 – Relations among the States Article 5 – Amending the Constitution Article 6 – National Debts, supremacy of national law, and oaths of office Article 7 – Ratifying the Constitution
Articles of the Constitution The first 3 Articles deal mainly with the three branches of the National Government. These articles outline the basic organization and powers of each branch and the methods by which the members of Congress, the President and Vice President, and federal judges are chosen. Article IV deals mostly with the role of States in the Union and their relationship with the National Government and with one another. Article V explains the amendment process. Article VI declares that the Constitution is the nation’s supreme law. Article VII shows and proves the Constitution’s ratification.
Amendments to the Constitution There are 27 total amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The first 10 are called the Bill of Rights. The First Amendment protects the fundamental rights, or essential freedoms, of the people. (ex. Freedom of speech, religion, etc.) The 2-4 Amendments grew out of the colonists’ struggles against British tyranny. (right to bear arms, no housing soldiers) Amendments 5-8 concern the rights of citizens who are accused of crimes. (Right to trial by jury, right to lawyer) The last two amendments limit the powers of the federal government to those powers granted in the Constitution The amendment process is so difficult that in the 200 years following the Bill of Rights, only 17 more have been ratified